herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

'Use your brain not your fists', say gardai with assaults on rise

Gardai released figures
Gardai released figures

Assaults are on the rise, gardai fear, with the highest number in nearly a decade recorded last year.

The figures were revealed yesterday as gardai launched a new campaign to encourage young men to use their brains and not their fists.

Garda figures show that 2017 saw the highest number of assaults since 2008.

The Garda Siochana Analysis Service (GSAS) found that the majority of assaults are carried out by males aged between 18 and 34, against males of a similar age.

These assaults typically take place in and around public places, for instance streets, roads, pubs and hotels, between 8pm and 5am at the weekend, peaking early Sunday morning.

Gardai appealed to young men to "Use Your Brain Not Your Fists" in the new campaign, which launched yesterday across social media, and in venues such as pubs, nightclubs, sports and youth clubs.

Sergeant Graham Kavanagh, from the National Crime Prevention Unit (NCPU), urged young men to think about the impact of their actions on themselves and others.

He also advised people to be streetwise when they are out and about.

"The vast majority of assaults that occur are needless and avoidable," he said.

Sgt Kavanagh urged assault victims to report the crime, which according to the Central Statistics Office may be under-reported by around 40pc.

"Some victims of assaults, particularly men, are embarrassed to say they have been assaulted," he said.

Sgt Kavanagh said that he would encourage anyone, and in particular younger men, to report all assaults to gardai.

Meanwhile, gardai said that "assault hotspots" have been identified and from early summer there has been a high-visibility policing presence in these areas at key times.

Vibrancy

International research has shown that the number of assaults can be associated with the vibrancy of the night-time economy, which has shown signs of recovery here following the recession.

The total number of assaults decreased year on year between 2008 and 2013, but has increased since then.

Levels to date this year are largely on a par with the same period in 2017.

Figures for 2018 show that 5,433 assaults have been recorded to date.

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